Scotch on the Rocks 2011 (Day 2)

Following on from Day1 (part 1 and part 2), this is my final post on SOTR 2011, with notes from the Day 2 sessions that I attended.

Session 1: Railo Keynote (“A Wee Chat with Mark and Gert”)

(Mark Drew and Gert Franz, Railo)

Mark kicked off the Railo keynote with some thoughts on promoting CFML.  He suggested that outside the community there is a perception that CFML is “old hat”, and I guess most of us have seen that sort of attitude.  He identified social media and (non-CF) conferences as possible mechanisms for promoting the language and suggested that infecting others with our enthusiasm would be the most effective approach. Price is no longer an issue when it comes to adoption of CFML, and there is an engine for everyone!

Open source has an important role to play – develop apps and get them out there.  People will use them for the functionality, not the underlying technology. Killer apps will help drive adoption.

Gert then took over with a roundup of recent and upcoming developments in Railo

Railo 3.2 (current)

  • Full script support
  • caching – many different mechanisms
  • Ajax
  • Event gateways (which can be implemented in CFML)
    • Mail watcher
    • Directory watcher
  • ORM – Hibernate Beta

Railo 3.3 (Beta as of SOTR 2011)

  • ORM final
  • Event gateways final
  • Persist sessions in cache – survive server restart
  • variable tracing – log changes to variable to a file (see where changes happened)

Railo 4 (forthcoming)

  • core changes
  • architectural extensions
  • Line execution – code coverage
  • nanosecond timing for each line execution – identify problems
  • EJO – extending Java objects.  <CFComponent extends=””>
  • <cfscript language = “Java”>
  • Command line Railo – no app server
  • Autotuning – proposes code optimizations
    • will determine what percentage of query results in use
    • select * if not all columns being used
    • gzip compression

Session 2: Introduction to jQuery Mobile development

(Ray Camden)

Despite a few technical difficulties, Ray gave a good overview of how jQuery Mobile can be used to quickly produce cross-platform mobile sites without writing a single line of JavaScript.  jQuery Mobile is currently in it’s third alpha version, with a beta expected shortly, and offers support for a wide range of platforms.  The project has the support of some big-name sponsors such as Palm, Nokia, Blackberry, oh and Adobe.

To use the framework, 3 files (2 JavaScript and one CSS) are included in the head, the document is given the HTML 5 doctype and elements are are given various data attributes to define their function and properties.  The library then takes over, styling elements such as lists and form widgets into touch friendly versions.

During the presentation, Ray demonstrated a mobile version of coldfusionBloggers and an example mobile site for the Apex Hotel which included location detection for driving directions, and a contact page from which the phone number could be dialled from a phone browser.

Ray has since put up a couple of blog posts related to this presentation:

This session is the one that had the most immediate benefit to me of this year’s event and I have already done my first jQuery Mobile prototype (completed in about 2 hours!).

Session3: Home for 5pm

(Andy Allen, Fuzzy Orange)

Andy started by outlining the sorts of distractions all developers are familiar with (phone calls, conversations, 500 editor windows open…) and went on to show how the Open Source Mylyn and its commercial big brother Tasktop can help bring order to the chaos.  Both products have a range of connectors, allowing them to integrate with ticketing systems, calendars, version control systems and more.  Andy showed how all of this information can be accessed from directly within Eclipse, and demonstrated some shortcuts like raising tickets directly from TODO comments, pre-populating SVN commit comments from ticket information, and showing only relevant files.  Tasktop has the added features of task scheduling and time tracking.  A popular feature with the audience was the “I’m feeling Lazy” button, which picks a random low priority task to work on!

I don’t know that I’ll ever have much of a chance to use any of this, as I work for a big organisation with in-house service management and time tracking systems, but it’s always interesting to see how others manage their workflows.

Session 4: Document Support in ColdFusion 9

(Chandan Kumar, Adobe)

I don’t really have much to say about this session. I was planning on going to “AJAX Longpolling with ColdFusion 9 and BlazeDS” but it was in the smallest room (Starscream) and by the time I got there it was already full.  Since I don’t have or use CS5, this was pretty much the remaining choice.

Chandan gave us a run through and some demos of the the various document-related tags (CFPDF, CFPDFFORM, CFPRINT, CFSPREADSHEET…). I did learn about server side printing with CFPRINT, which I had previously managed to overlook, but I found the topic fairly dry and on the whole this wasn’t a particularly valuable session for me.

Final Thoughts

I didn’t get to the final sessions or the raffle (again!) thanks to a less than ideal return flight time, but I thoroughly enjoyed my second Scotch on the Rocks.  As ever, there was a good selection of topics and some great speaker, and the venue was better than last year (though the Starscream room was a little on the small side).  It was also nice to have the chance to chat with some fellow attendees.  That’s an area where I know I could have made a bit more effort, maybe I’ll manage a better job of it next year and meet a few more folk.

On the subject of next year, dates have been announced already – 8-9 March 2012, same venue.  Put it in your diary!